The Dallas Mavericks have acquired standout big man Kristaps Porzingis in a trade with the New York Knicks, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. NY will also receive two future first-round picks in the swap, reports The Athletic.
On paper, the trade looks like an absolute win for the Mavericks.
Missing out on the Durant-Irving tier of free agents could send them into panic mode, and lead to an overpay of a second-tier name like Tobias Harris or Khris Middleton - good players who aren't first options on title teams, but may get paid like they are.
Porzingis hasn't played in the 2018-19 season as he continues to recover from an ACL injury he suffered past year. Perhaps the team will target a few superstar free agents in July. This puts pressure on the Mavericks to make Porzingis happy in the one full season they'll have of him under contract or risk losing Porzingis in free agency.
Sources told ESPN that Smith, a 2017 lottery pick who is averaging 12.9 points and 4.3 assists per game this season, had taken issue with some of Carlisle's tough coaching tactics and that the 21-year-old wasn't pleased with his role playing primarily off the ball due to Doncic's emergence as an All-Star-caliber playmaker.
The trade deadline is February 7.
Had Porzingis fielded offers from other teams this summer, he'd be looking at a major pay day, forcing the Mavericks to either match an offer sheet or lose Porzingis entirely.
Prior to his injury, Porzingis was on his way to becoming one of the top players in the league. Porzingis signing the qualifying offer, however, would change the outlook of this trade.
With those mitigating circumstances, Steve Mills and Scott Perry were never going to get 100 cents on the dollar for Porzingis. It will open up salary space for the Knicks. If they don't, they may have just set the organization back another half-decade.